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How to Obtain a Child's Passport

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You won't find the first requirement for obtaining a child's passport on the U.S. Department of State's offical list. That doesn't mean it is no less necessary. What is it' A large dose of patience.

Over the last few years, new requirements have been added to guarantee the security of children. While these measures serve a worthy objective, they do tend to complicate the process.

To help you get through the process as quickly and easily as possible, I've put together a list of things you need to take with you when applying for a child's passport.

1. Your child

That's right. Since February 2004, the State Deparment requires your child to appear in person.

2. Both parents or legal guardians

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If a parent or guardian cannot appear, either a notarized letter of permission (Form DS-3035) must be provided or some other documented explanation such as proof of sole custody, an adoption decree or a death certificate of the deceased parent.

3. Proof of citizenship

This can be a certified birth certificate from the registar's office in the state where the child was born. Other acceptable documents are a previous fully valid U.S. passport, a Report of Birth Abroad, a Certification of Birth Abroad or a Certificate of Citizenship or Naturalization.

4. Proof of relationship to child

You can established your relationship to the child with a certified birth certificate, Certificate of Birth Abroad, adoption decree or court order of legal guardianship. Previous U.S. passports are not accepted as proof of relationship.

5. Photo ID

Your own passport or drivers license will do.
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6. Passport Application Form DS-11

Fill out the form carefully. Don't sign it until requested by the passport acceptance officer. The child's signature is required if he or she is older than 14 years.

7. Two passport photos of your child

The State Department has strict rules about passport photos. Your best bet is to get new photos from a professional passport photo service.

8. Payment

You will have at least three fees - the Passport Application Fee, the Execution Fee and the Security surcharge.

For children age 16 or older, the passport fee is $55, the security surcharge is $12 and the execution fee is $30. The total is $97.

For children under age 16, the passport fee is $40, the security surcharge is $12 and the execution fee is $30. The total is $82.

An expediting fee of $60 must also be paid to the U.S. Department of State if you want to obtain your child's passport within 2 weeks.

Want to avoid problems, start early and follow the requirements thoroughly. What do you do when a problem does arise' Remember the first requirement for obtaining a child's passport.

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